Mayhem and metal at the Roxy

Metal Mayhem features local metal bands

Colorado’s metal scene lacks big names but remains deeply talented. Fans displayed plenty of battle vests, long hair, and black T-shirt collections at Metal Mayhem, a local metal showcase put on at the Roxy Theatre on Feb. 1. Each band gave performances that failed to disappoint those knitted-out fans. Notable for their supportive scene, bands worked their own merch tables, leaving time to watch each others’ sets and (in one case) even wear each other’s shirts. Though all the bands fit into the metal category, they represented a nice range of subgenres.

Killing Creation engages fans from on stage. Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry

For sheer emotional impact and a sense of empathizing with their audience, Killing Creation was the most engaging band of the night. If overdone, angst often puts people off, but they found a balance between emotion and just playing music for the sake of music. They began with fog, darkness, and ambient sounds to set a menacing atmosphere and kept it going through their set with lead singer Chase Drastik’s heartfelt vocals (whether screaming or clean for emphasis), plus cohesive backing instrumentals. Heavy and intense, Killing Creation brought the emotional impact as well as their technical skills.

On the other hand, Demented’s high energy thrash/hardcore inspired a small group of hardcore dancing fans to flail and bounce off each other enthusiastically. While the Roxy bans moshing, no one ever asked these hardcore dancers to stop as they created a dangerous atmosphere for other, calmer metal fans who wanted to watch the show in peace. Though distracting, these fans didn’t otherwise detract from Demented’s set, which featured interwoven guitar and bass play and relentlessly thundering drums.

Openers Tentative joked about not having a set list, the lead singer saying, “I’m gonna wait for this guy [the bassist] to start playing the song and then I’m gonna act like I knew it all along.” Their set came off confident and relaxed, the opposite of their name. Traditional and doom stylings included screaming by both guitarist and bassist, plus just enough shifting rhythms by the drummer to add interest. Down-tuned tonalities lent a dark atmosphere, and for a three-piece band, an amazingly deep sound.

When Darkness Falls’ initial, impenetrable wall of sound moved into more melodic lines. Like Tentative, they’re another three-piece punching above their weight; the singer/guitarist is particularly versatile in vocals (clean, screams, and growls are equally well done) and guitar work, featuring some blistering solos.

While attendance was sparser than the talent deserved, the Roxy remained a comfortable venue for the most part. The experience would have improved without the roving white spotlights and strobes. Going to a metal show is about standing in the dark listening to good music and head banging, not a bunch of bright lights in fans’ eyes. Cut that shit out and turn up the music.

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